Now that I have quite a few posts on credit cards, it's time to show you how to use those new points that you just got. To start, the absolute worst way to use points is via a statement credit. When you do this, you cash out your Ultimate Rewards (UR) for 1 Cent Per Point (CPP). This is considered a waste because it is possible to get a much higher value via transfer partners and booking travel through Ultimate Rewards.
Moving forward in this post, I will make the following assumptions:
- You have either the CIP, CSR, or CSP.
- You have completed the sign up bonus for these cards and have points to spend.
- You are looking to travel with these points.
If all of these apply to you, then great! Let's get started.
What you see above is the first page you encounter upon entering the Ultimate Rewards section of Chase's website. The top left corner shows you the card you are accessing Ultimate Rewards with and this will affect what you can do with your points.
I typically use my CSR to redeem because it allows me to transfer to travel partners (as does the CSP and CIP) and it also has a 1.5x rate when using UR to book travel. To do that, first head over to the use points drop down menu.
To the left you'll see the options on the drop down menu. The only two that really matter are "Transfer to Travel Partners" and "Explore & Book Travel". When selecting the Explore option, this will take you to a layout similar to any other Travel agency like Expedia, Kayak, etc. You will be able to search for rental cars, hotels, flights, and other various activities. If you book anything from this part of the Chase website, you will get a points multiplier based on the credit card you have. The values are as follows.
- CIP - 1.25x
- CSP - 1.25x
- CSR - 1.5x
This means that if a hotel is typically $100 a night, if you use UR through the CSR to book it, the cost will come out to 6,600 UR. The same math holds true for the other cards at their specific rates.
As you can see, booking through the UR portal is a much better value than using the points for a statement credit. The next way to use your points is to transfer to travel partners. I will not go into very specific details about this because it is unique for each partner, but I will show you some examples of sweet spot redemptions.
Before you decide to transfer to travel partners, it is important to make accounts for each program first. The one I will be talking about is Hyatt so head on over to World of Hyatt and make an account.
Once you do that, you can now transfer UR points to Hyatt at a ratio of 1:1. At this point you may be wondering why you would want to transfer at 1:1 when you could be getting a better value via booking through the portal, so check this out.
Above you can see a sample night at the Grand Hyatt resort in Hawaii. As you can see, it's pretty pricy at $559 a night. Now if you were to book via the Chase portal, it would be 37k UR a night. But let's see what it would be if you were to book using Hyatt Points instead.
As you can see, booking directly on Hyatt's website using the hotel's own points system allows for a night to be only 25k points! If you transferred UR to Hyatt to book this hotel, you would be getting an unbelievable 2.24 CPP!!
This is just one example of transferring to a travel partner to get an amazing value for your points and there are many others such as transferring to Air France in order to book a round trip to Hawaii for 25k UR. I'm not going to go into too much detail about this route but if you want to read about it then check out this post on Loophole Travel that taught me about this method.
Hopefully you learned a little bit about some easy ways to redeem UR for travel at a great value. If you have any questions please let me know! I'm heading to Portland for a week in April completely on points so stay tuned for a trip report soon!